Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: 'Something Strange and Deadly' by Susan Dennard

"Dead!" a woman screamed. "It's the Dead!
...I'd heard of corpses awakening --- hungry and dangerous though still quite dead.
The purpose of bells in coffins was, after all, to warn us; but if the word on the
street was true, then in the last week more than a few bodies had escaped their graves.

Eleanor Fitt, of the Philadelphia Fitts, has a lot on her mind; her brother is missing and her mother refuses to recognize the truth about the family's financial situation.  And then there are the rumors of a Necromancer leading an army of Dead.  Animated corpses are nothing new, there is a reason cemeteries are surrounded by fences, but a Necromancer has the power to raise and control the Dead.  Eleanor is determined to track down her brother even if that means facing the Dead and working with socially "unacceptable" people - the only ones who can stand against a Necromancer.

Susan Dennard has crafted a wonderfully detailed and original novel that adds a new twist to the YA zombie cannon.  Readers will relate well to both the lead female and male characters.  Eleanor is a strong heroine who is not afraid to fight for her convictions, while Daniel is a multifaceted blend reformed criminal and absentminded inventor.  Several of the secondary characters are integral to the story and add an interesting multi-cultural element to the story.  Historically accurate details add to the story - Eleanor's internal monologue includes pondering the constriction of her corset and how it inhibits movement.

Dennard handles the "zombie" element in a way that blends traditional walking dead elements with modern twists.  In Dennard's world burial doesn't always mean a body's final rest - periodically the dead become the Dead, rising from their grave, driven by a supernatural craving for human flesh.  The Dead can only be controlled by a Necromancer who can use them for his or her own nefarious purposes.

Readers looking for an original novel filled with action and suspense will enjoy Dennard's 'Something Strange and Deadly' and will look forward to the next novel in the series.

Book Source: Local Library
Reviewed by: Rebecca

Recommended Ages: 12+ Zombie violence, paranormal elements

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